tv [untitled] March 31, 2015 1:30am-2:01am PDT
good afternoon supervisors. i am chief housing inspector. quite frankly the response to the devastating and displacing fires we have seen is enhanced prevention. that means accelerated and concentrated code enforcement, educating property owners, and it also means empowering the tenants within these buildings so if they see a problem they will call us or call one of the code enforcement outreach organizations. so the san francisco housing code has overlapping jurisdiction with the fire code with respect to fire prevention mechanisms. that's fire escape. that's tagging fire extinguishers that has to do with egress. sprinkling certain parts of the buildings and garbage rooms and shoots and storage areas and other amenities that are required. those types of inspections the housing division
within the department of building inspection does on an ongoing basis they're occurring right now. we have inspectors out there that do them on a complaint driven basis and systematically as required by the san francisco housing code but let me tell you what we're doing in addition to all of that. when department of building inspection saw a cluster of fires occurring in the mission we immediately instituted a concentrated code enforcement outreach program and that program included defining a concentrated focus code enforcement area. we looked at and identified 126 multiple family dwellings along the mission street corridor from third street all the way out to crocker amazon and six and a half miles and 67 city blocks. we started to do the inspections. we have done about 35 of those because we need to send a comprehensive inspection package to the property owner so they learn in the future what they're supposed to maintain on
an on-basis. that's been in our website for a number of years. what we found when we looked at some of the buildings were not just fire safety issues but those rose to the level of life hazards and we cited some of the buildings before and in one instance on a building on mission street the gate area to a roof access where there were fire escape its was chaind and padlocked. we found other situations like that, so those particular cases that we found we immediately referred those to the city attorney. that was done earlier this week, and if we find those types of conditions as we go through the list and inspect the other buildings within this area we will be doing the same. most property owners maintain their properties well, but with respect to assisting those efforts we want to make sure that property owners out there look at the information on our website and the most important
thing is in any kind of an emergency individuals need to be able to get out of these buildings unencumbered and they need to mitigate that as soon as possible. the other part is empowering people within the building and that is as you said posting signs which is already a model we use in residential hotels and with respect to the code enforcement outreach program where we've got nine organizations in the city [inaudible] we're going to have a speaker on that in a moment. we have housing rights, chinatown development center, the tenderloin housing clinic and those that specialize in the residential hotels. the mission sro collaborative. we have central city, chinatown, the sro families united. these all specialize in those issues within residential hotels and they have been doing those workshops within those hotels to provide information to the
occupants about fire sai. they have been doing those in conjunction and assistance of the fire department. we are expanding that into the apartment buildings as well because we want to make sure if an individual within a building sees something suspicious they call and let us know. we are very much aware that the conditions within a building can change very drastically a moment an inspector may leave the building so we want people to be comfortable call you go us or the outreach. >> >> vendors and with i will introduce latisha [inaudible] from [inaudible] >> good afternoon. my name is latisha and a counselor and organizer at [inaudible]. we're a regional bay area grass-roots for tenants and san francisco
and oakland. we have [inaudible] city and something over 1,000 cases each here. [inaudible] collaborative have been working for quite some time now to support thousands of tenants to improve basic living conditions by, wog in partnership with dbi housing and inspection division. the conditions that many tenants have in their home include safety violations we are able to document and work with the housing inspectionors. our process developed by community leaders have been effective for thousands of tenants for many years and encourage this model is adopted by other city agencies to protect tenants in housing health and safety. as a counselor many tenants share with me they worry about a fire hazard in the home with the recent fires that have taken place. i believe that using our process for a model for other agencies and many of the housing code to include central alarm certification, expanding the
requirements for 311 posters to apartments would improve the safety of vulnerable tenants and ability to communicate issues to the city. furthermore, the sharing of information by all city agencies the way dbi does would enable them to work with [inaudible] to improve building safety. i share this with you so you take the right steps to ensure a safe and habitable home for all residents in san francisco. thank you. >> thank you very much. i know we want to turn it over to public comment. just a quick question to dbi. i don't know director is if that's to you, and is on the tweet avenue property and the question that i asked the fire department about the living situation with two individuals who were living outside -- in front of the liquor store. i mean what do
you do with something like that? how could the department even find out about something like that? because it seems that was a special arrangement between the owner of the liquor store and these two individuals. >> that's a very difficult situation supervisor. we had the liquor store -- it's my understanding operating as it regularly does. after it closed the situation happened and it's probably happening as we speak throughout the mission area so one of the things that is so important for us is make sure we're engaging with the community and our outreach contractors so people know they can call us or talk to us so that something like this doesn't happen, and we want to be sensitive that when we're dealing with code enforcement that we're not necessarily displacing people but we can't have them living in dangerous situations that weren't meant for inhabitantity so the ability to have our code enforcement outreach people talk with
individuals that maybe afraid to come to us directly is one such way to do that but the other issue is the amount of housing that's available. that obviously is the one thing that is very difficult to talk about. that is one of the phenomenons that is occurring out there. we're not just seeing people in liquor stores but basements and attics and hallways and things like that, so when we see that we refer those individuals to our outreach individuals like this group so they can work with them to see what assistance and other city services can be provided. >> thank you. supervisor mar. >> yeah, i just wanted to thank all of you for emphasizing especially that enhanced prevention means empowering tenants and i know the code enforcement outreach program is really significant from the organizing by the cheenize
progressive soakz -- association and other associations and it's a legacy to have strong enforcement from the fire department and dbi and we need that and it comes out of thor nicing campaigns of chinatown and i am appreciative we have those critical partnerships from the nine organizations these days. >> supervisor christensen. >> [inaudible] thank you all for being here and i know if my district safety discussions often revolve around crime and certainly my office has been attempting to interject fire safety into the discussions and we're looking at smoke detector distribution programs and look forward to working with you on but we certainly have disasters in waiting in district 3 and we're trying to figure out how to address those without freaking out the residents but we look forward to working with you on that. thanks for all of the good work. it's nice that
the reports despite the bad news recently nice they show a good trajectory in general. >> with that thank you to my colleagues and i'm going to open it up to public comment if that's okay with the chair and the one point i would say to both our fire department and our department of building inspection is one of the things i look forward to continuing to look into as we proceed with this discussion is are there additional resources that are needed for dbi? are there additional resources needed for the fire department? because i know that if you have a personnel and you have the resources you have outstanding people working there, so i think it's something that we have to look at so i look forward working with both the chief and the director on that, so have some names of speakers. if you could please line up to your right, our left.
[calling speaker names] please go ahead. either one. >> okay. i am tommy and with the housing rights committee and one of the organizations that is part of the program that dbi runs. just some thoughts on some things that i think might be useful in addressing a lot of the issues that were raised here. i think that the fire department maybe would do well to have an nov, notice of violation system similar to what dbi does, but not just issuing notice of violation but have a
strong enforcement arm so if a landlord is not complying right away because i mean fire safety is a really urgent issue. it's not something that we can wait a long time for a landlord to comply with so i am thinking a notice of violation type of system similar to d bcht i with a -- dbi with a strong enforcement arm and if they don't comply and certain number of notices and visits from the inspector it goes to the city attorney for enforcement for actually prosecution because i think if it were some examples set by the fire department of landlords being prosecuted by the city attorney i think that might make a difference and send a message that the city is serious about fire safety. also as suggested by the speakers i think the sharing of information is vital because i think we all of us working together is stronger than just one department working on this so i think all of us working
together would be great and finally i can't emphasize how important strirchg hers would be in -- sprinklers would be in the solution to this problem. we need them. we need to figure out how to get them done as soon as possible and they would prevent fires happening in the future. thank you. >> next speaker. if you could just come up after. >> hi. i work with the mission [inaudible] collaborative. one thing i would like to support is the expansion of the workshops and also for the sros and the all of the buildings as well and we're working with dbi on that and another issue is denial of access. landlords will not allow us to go in the buildings and provide the fire prevention workshops because i guess they are afraid we will inform the tenants of their rights and another thing that i would like to add it's not just about give the fire prevention workshop but
a tenants right workshop in partnership with that so it's not only how to have access but they know what rights they have and when sharing information not only sharing information across agency but also if somebody files a complaint send a letter to the tenants. let the tenants know there is a violation and potential of fire within their building. another thing also i would like to include is to additional support for survivors of fire. i think supervisor campos spoke on that that landlords would take a long time and i think it's hard to impose a timeline with cost of construction and all of that and maybe not only have support -- long-term support for survivors of fire but also maybe when the landlord reports to the city when the construction is done because
often types they are having trauma and have to find out if the place is ready to return or not. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker please. >> hi i am marianne robinson and a small business owner on folsom street street in san francisco and unfortunately we also have flooding problems besides fire. that area around folsom and 17 ethstreet has flooded now for the past six years, sometimes twice a year. >> that come will be after this on flooding but if you could talk about fires for this one. >> i can't unfortunately talk about fires so floogd is next? >> yes. >> good afternoon supervisor. thank you for calling this hearing. my name is warren mar and with the building inspection commission and the vice
president and landlord rep believe it or not. first i want to thank the director and deputy directors for stepping up. because of you watched a video or listened to part of our commission meeting yesterday i have been pushing for routine inspections to come back to all of the districts. we're not there yet and that's something we could do better so while i respect our response time for complaint driven problems if we did routine inspections we would have caught a lot of the violations mentioned in the chronicle like the blocked egress or the expired fire extinguisher and forwarded those to the fire department but a lot of the things if we did the routine inspections we could have caught it. i know we have been pushing our department and
short staff staffed. and we have five and hopefully we're hiring two soon and i appreciate our partners but i believe they're not only short with more buildings to take care but believe they're under paid which i think came before the board of supervisors before because actually do some of the work for us in the city that departments can't cover so i want to say while i support people running around to areas like the mission because of the fire we have the same problems in chinatown north beach and in the tenderloin and we can't run from area to area and the landlords, the last thing that the landlords pay for routine inspections. i have talk to the san francisco apartment owners. they support bringing back routine inspections so it's not like they don't -- the good landlords don't want it. we can go into the buildings and check everything. if it's okay it's okay and if not they will fix it.
>> next speaker please. >> my name is john freedberg and a counselor with the housing rights committee and i am very concerned about the fact there are some tenants not here today who presented a very troubling picture of a building on a street near mission, a building that has over 20 units and a restaurant in it and according to the tenants they believe the landlord was a victim of an attempt to arson the building several times. there is nobody here today i believe from that building because of fear, maybe because of immigration issues, whatever, so my proposal is only there be a requirement for buildings that have over certain number of units have posted like an elevator a clear confidential phone number in specified size print with a promise of
confidentiality that they can alert the fire department or the department of building inspection because this particular building has a set of stairs in the back that probably a child could push over, so i am concerned and i have heard many, many stories but this one seemed worth bring to your attention. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. >> good afternoon. my name is chitta [inaudible] and i work with the mission collaborative. thank you for holding this hearing. this is personal to me and not beyond the scope of my work and i have been in two fires in the city and one at [inaudible] and one at the st. george hotel as well where my family was displaced. we work closely with dbi to improve the living conditions for residents in sros and the fire department to put on the fire
prevention workshops. it's my understanding their model has increased effectiveness for the benefits of the tenant and encourage other agencies to also adopt this model. in regards to legislation that was mentioned earlier by supervisor campos we would like to see a focus on prevention via education. i know that's been mentioned by other people speaking as well. one of the things we would like to push for is mandatory workshops, mandatory fire prevention work shops in sros and other properties we would be expanding towards, either r ones with apartments or hybrids that have sro rooms as well as residential rooms because right now one of our great evaluate barriers to hosting these purely educational fire prevention workshops are the owners and management of these properties. i even got a call from a property manager who sits on the sro task force to tell me to
cancel all scheduled fire prevention workshops and if it wasn't for the help of dbi actually who got in the middle that we wouldn't have that -- actually well received fire prevention workshop at one of the sros in the mission so if there is any talk of additional legislation we will be advocating for that and thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker and i have a couple more names i'm going to read. [calling speaker names] >> hi. i am molly brendan and live in district 9 in the mission and i have been a tenant there and i'm now a homeowner after many years. i wanted to call attention to -- we focus a lot on the people who are displaced but i wanted to point out that the businesses are still there that did support that community. i went around and we spoke to some of the businesses that are still there
across the street from the building that burned and they lost most of the customers and the businesses left and it attracted people there and also they're not coming back and if they go back the businesses they once supported will no longer be there so it's creating different levels of issues in the community and displacement and gentrification and take that on as well and this legislation seems in its prevention of fires has the ability to maintain the present -- like residents and businesses. like it has the ability to assist in that so thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. >> good afternoon everyone. my name is jerry and i will be doing translation for a tenant in chinatown.
>> (speaking chinese). >> so she wanted to speak on this importance of having fire prevention and safety. she said that being a sro tenant she understands the over crowding issue and the need to have that fire prevention education done so she sees the importance in the workshop and it is trainings. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker. >> i amava and work on the mission collaborative as well and the resource center as a case manager. i think fire prevention shouldn't depend
mostly on tenant complaints and education even though that is important for them to have that power. landlords in the city need to be accountable. i would like to see landlords of the buildings speak to the concerned public too. i think expanding the existing system of reporting to dbi through the 311 is working and extended to other buildings. i feel unnerved that the buildings that burned are where working class and poor are living in the context of extreme displacement and in the mission that we see today. the city needs to keep the resident it is safe and -- residents safe and where they live and this is important and offering temporary housing is important and not just displace them from their communities. i would like to add anyone living
in the buildings whether they have a lease should be encouraged to return as well. a fire shouldn't be the excuse to displace those living shrp on paper and not the context we are today. thanks. >> thank you very much. next speaker. >> good afternoon. my name is marcos [inaudible]. i come to talk about the development about the fire. i stay in an sro. i think we have should programs talking about prevention in fires. me myself i have been there for a year and there's not one class like they say talks about preventing fires or talk about emergency or hazards deal with -- like they say the his torcool buildings like in san francisco for a long time. i feel from the development on 16th i think we should -- not
only be speaking on the development or fire we need to be talking more about what is going on and solutions how to make san francisco a lot more better. thank you. >> thank you sir. next speaker. >> hi again i will be doing translation. okay. his name is . >> >> [inaudible] >> speak into the mic. >> [speaking foreign language] >> he sees the importance in having educators come out to sros to educate on fire prevention and how to --
[speaking foreign language] >> on fire prevention and how to escape in the event of a fire . [speaking foreign language] >> he hopes that every year they can be someone that comes out to do these outreach education workshops so that way everyone can be educated about the fire prevention safety. [speaking foreign language] >> and also to develop new legislations on fire prevention safety tools such as fire sprinklers and also fire alarms.
[speaking foreign language] >> and he also he says the importance of keeping flammable items away from things that can cause fires. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker please. >> i'm the next speaker and i am jerry and from chinatown development center. i am a community organizer and counselor and i lead the prevention workshops anded bidding coordinator academy. two of the speakers i did translation for are building coordinators and they go through training and recruited from the fire prevention workshops that we do yearly and do 13 work
shops within one fiscal year and focus on different areas. we do a lot of education how to witness -- how to identify fire prevention tools such as to notice that a fire extinguisher is going out and things to look for if they have the custom that is cultural of burning incense make sure it's out before leaving their units, so in connection with everything we actually do see the importance of having this legislation and actually pushing fortmore education workshops so more folks can know how to prevent fires and how to take care of each other in an emergency. >> thank you. next speaker. >> good afternoon. i am tina
chung from the development center as well. we are here today with other organizations part of the code enforcement outreach program funded by department of building inspection and i think what's really unique with our model and also i want to speak in regards to just really improving the decent housing and safe housing and living conditions in conjunction with the work that we do in the community but we're uniquely positioned as a neighborhood based organization and provide and work with tenants and landlords resolving these issues. one of the things we always see is issues around housing, safety violations and i think the model is unique in itself in terms of trying to improve and also along with our mission statement of providing for safe and decent housing. one of the things we notice and a lot of programs were unique is we are culturally sensitive but language ba